Posted: 11/19/2008 1:28:23 PM EST
Apparently there is no level of training which can prepare a woman to use tools without breaking or losing them.
Astronaut who lost tool bag admits making mistake
By MARCIA DUNN – 37 minutes ago
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The astronaut who lost her tool bag on a
spacewalk admitted Wednesday that she made a mistake by not checking to
see if the sack was tied down, and said she's still smarting over the
Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper said in an interview
with The Associated Press that it was "very disheartening" to lose her
bag full of tools. She was trying to clean up grease that had oozed out
of a grease gun in the backpack-size bag, when the tote and everything
in it floated away Tuesday.
The bag was one of the largest items ever lost by a spacewalking astronaut.
a split second, she thought she might be able to grab it and she tried
to judge how far away it was. Just as quickly, "I thought, no, that
would probably just make things worse and the best thing to do would be
to just let it go."
"There's still the psychological thing of
knowing that we made a mistake and having to live through that," she
said. "During the spacewalk ... it was easy to put it aside because I
knew that we still had five hours of spacewalk work to do and the work
needed to get done and you can't dwell on a mistake. It was hardest
coming back in and having to face everybody else."
She noted there were three more spacewalks and promised not to let the mistake happen again.
"You're not going to see us lose another bag. We're going to double- and triple-check everything from here on out," she said.
next spacewalk is Thursday; Stefanyshyn-Piper will venture back out of
the international space station for more work on a jammed joint at the
space station that controls some of the solar wings.
Her spacewalking partner Tuesday, Stephen Bowen, also took the blame for the mishap.
didn't go back and triple-check everything. So I'm just as guilty at
this as Heide is," Bowen told AP. In the packing and repacking of all
the tools and sacks, it's possible that bag became untethered,
Flight director Ginger Kerrick was withholding judgment.
don't know that this incident occurred because they forgot to tether
something. We don't know if perhaps the hook just came loose inside the
bag," Kerrick stressed at a news conference. "You've got to remember,
we are working with humans here and we are prone to human error. We do
the best we can, and we learn from our mistakes."
Kerrick said precautions will be taken to help prevent any more leaking grease guns or loose bags.
grease guns will be attached to the outside of the bag rather than
packed inside, to prevent the plungers from being activated
Stefanyshyn-Piper said some air might have gotten
in with the grease and forced the grease out. She said it seeped out in
half-inch and one-inch bits and was all over the inside of the bag.
grease guns were in the bag that got away. That leaves just two guns
aboard the space shuttle Endeavour and space station, each with a
different nozzle for reaching different parts of the clogged joint.
the bag that got away was still in the neighborhood of the
shuttle-station complex but was expected to fall out of orbit fairly
During Thursday's spacewalk, Stefanyshyn-Piper and Shane
Kimbrough will share the grease guns and alter their work in order to
cut down on the guns' use. There is a caulking-style gun on Endeavour
that is intended for shuttle repairs, but space station flight
controllers won't borrow it unless absolutely necessary, Kerrick said.
gummed-up joint is full of metal shavings, the result of grinding
parts. It's been used sparingly for more than a year and, as a result,
has hindered energy production at the space station.
course of four spacewalks, astronauts will clean and lubricate the
joint and replace the bearings inside, and do a little work on another
joint. The first three spacewalks concentrate on the bad joint, the
fourth will focus on the good joint.
The joint is supposed to
keep the solar wings on the right side of the space station pointed
toward the sun. A twin on the left side is operating fine, but the
astronauts will squirt on some extra grease as a precaution.
other space station business Wednesday, the astronauts hooked up some
of the gear that was delivered by Endeavour, including a new recycling
system for turning urine into drinking water.
First thing I thought of when I read that this morning.
Don't they have the jetpack thing for space walks? I expected her to jump after it them come jetting merrily back in.
Exactly what does it cost to get a pound of anything into space?
How much did the tool bag weigh?
I'll bet that's the most expensive lost toolbox in history.
Isn't she tethered? Jump after that bag and pull yourself back, wtf.
If they'd quit sending these college pukes up there and start sending some real mechanics up there, this crap would'nt happen.